A tropical depression dumped heavy rain on the Philippines yesterday, flooding metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces and causing landslides and flash floods that killed at least four people.
Six others were missing, including five residents of Laguna province, where floods swept away a house next to a swollen river, disaster relief officials said. The other missing person was reported in nearby Cavite province, where several areas were submerged.
Financial markets, government offices and schools were closed and at least 21 flights were canceled or diverted.
The weather bureau said Tropical Depression Maring made landfall in eastern Quezon province yesterday morning and was moving northwest with winds of 60 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour. It warned that continued moderate to heavy rain in Manila and nearby provinces along the storm’s path could trigger more floods and landslides.
Disaster response official Elmer Espiritu said two brothers aged 14 and 17 died when a landslide covered their home at the foot of a hill before dawn in Taytay town near Manila. Officials ordered mandatory evacuations in risky areas after some residents refused to leave, he added.
In Quezon province, a 2-month-old girl was killed and seven others were injured when a concrete wall around a hospital collapsed on three houses in Lucena city after heavy rain soaked the soil at the wall’s base, officials said.
Police also reported that a 12-year-old girl drowned in metropolitan Manila’s Pasay city while bathing in a river during the heavy downpour.
Twenty-two passengers on a bus stranded in floodwaters were rescued in Quezon province, officials said.
A stronger storm, Talim, was located 865 kilometers east of the Philippines’ northern tip and was moving toward Taiwan and eastern China.
Talim is due to make landfall in Taiwan late today and officials there were especially concerned about mudslides in mountainous parts of the island. Taiwan’s government was contacting the heads of mountain villages, arranging free evacuations to shelters, and monitoring rivers and mudslide-prone areas.
Talim was expected to hit China’s southeastern coast either tomorrow or Friday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported. Coastal Zhejiang province ordered local governments and emergency services to prepare for the storm and possible flooding, China National Radio said.
Taiwan is hit by typhoons nearly every year. But it has become much more aggressive about preparations since Typhoon Morakot battered the island in 2009, killing roughly 700 people — most in mudslides.
Residents of the island are also taking warnings more seriously, officials say.
“For Taiwan, the most serious chance of a disaster is heavy rain causing a sudden mudslide. Before Morakot, people were taking chances, sort of like gambling,” said Li Wei-sen, secretary-general with the government’s National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction.
Taiwan’s 23 million people are used to typhoons, but the island’s size and its competitive media environment ensures nearly everyone knows what to expect. MDT/AP